Renee is gay.
It was written in my yearbook. 9th grade? 10th Grade? I don’t remember. But I remember the words. I remember how they stung. An insult. Someone I had presented my yearbook to for signing had taken the time to scrawl those words in my yearbook. I can picture them, written sideways, in the spine. I wonder who did it? I spent a lot of time trying to figure that out when it happened. Who would do such a thing? Stupid Bitches! Ha.
I didn’t think anything about being gay until another girl made a pass at me my senior year. I will call her Christina. And we had “sex”. I guess you could call it that. We were sort of girlfriends for a while. I have to be honest, it’s a little vague in my memory now. I remember sexual activity. I remember trying to be her girlfriend. I hung out in a wild crowd back then so dating a chick was kind of cool. I didn’t think a lot about it.
Then I met, um…Jessica…yes, we will call her that. She had long brown hair and she was a real lesbian. I had a serious boyfriend at the time, someone I had dated off and on for years and was currently “shacking up with” according to my grandma. I was about 19. Jessica and I hung out for hours and hours and my boyfriend was insanely jealous but I considered us just friends. Then one night, I stayed at her house too late and ended up on her couch, making out for what felt like two days and was probably two hours. It was truly one of the most magical experiences of my then…very short…life. There were moments in the drama that ensued from that experience where I questioned my sexuality. But I didn’t linger on it. I decided I was bisexual and let it go. I dabbled in the “ladies” over the next few years but nothing serious and I mostly dated men. I met my husband when I was 22 and decided he was perfect, he had every quality I had ever imagined in a mate and I set my mind toward marrying him almost immediately. And I did, four years later, at age 26. By 27, I had my first child and my second at 29. I didn’t think too much about my continued attraction to some women. I noticed it but just decided it was simply bisexuality.
We moved across the country. I made new friends. I had another child. I drank a lot. There were some kisses, drunken kisses, with girlfriends over the years. I continued to claim bisexuality and wonder why I couldn’t connect sexually with my spouse the way I wanted to. I lived my life and always felt a sense of something not being quite right. I couldn’t feel happiness. There was always something missing and I filled that emptiness with alcohol and a steady stream of pot.
My husband and I argued over my continued experimenting with making out sessions with my drunk girlfriends. I told him he should loosen up. The other husband’s thought it was hot. Why couldn’t he? I tried to stop myself from doing it but a few glasses of wine and a willing participant and I would find myself smooching it up again. It never went further than that. The women weren’t gay, they were just being silly after a few drinks. All in good fun, right?
And then I got sober. That’s another story. Another blog. I committed to sobriety for a year. I didn’t know if I was truly an alcoholic but I knew I was messing up my kids with my partying ways, so I quit.
Boy reality is shocking when you first start living in it. I hadn’t been a daily drinker but near the end I was drinking a LOT. And smoking copious amounts of pot. When I quit I holed myself up in my house, I threw myself into projects, began writing about sobriety. I tried to stay busy and figure out what was really going on with me. It was during this time that I became friends with a lesbian. She was comfortable in her life, outgoing, friendly, likeable and 100% gay. I didn’t spend five minutes with her and instantly know I was gay too. It was more of an unfolding. I watched her. I studied her. I wondered what it would be like to be gay. But I didn’t acknowledge being gay to her. I didn’t ask her if she thought I was gay. It didn’t cross my mind.
Until last summer…over a year ago. I was running with my non-gay friend and she made a casual comment in response to my announcing that I felt attracted to our mutual friend, the gay one. She said,
“Are you sure you aren’t gay?”
I responded with a scoff..
“I’m not gay. I am bisexual. You know that. But I feel lots of things toward her…lots of things.”
And then I blew it off. And off and off and off and off.
Sometime in August I settled on it. I was gay. I didn’t tell anyone. I just said it in my head.
“I think I might be gay. I think that might be my problem.”
And then when I knew it, I began to really know it. As in the knowledge took over ginormous pieces of my brain. I could think of nothing else.
GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY
Suddenly I found myself incapable of being sexual with my husband. He became a stranger to me. I became increasingly withdrawn and made an appointment with a therapist. I told her I wanted to tell my husband I was gay.
She tried to slow me down but it became a huge mountain of information that I could no longer contain and pretending became very difficult. I can remember the moment I decided to tell him. He was in the kitchen, being silly, making jokes with one of the kids. I looked at him and I thought, “holy shit…I don’t love him the way I should and I never will. He is being cheated by this lie. I have to tell him.”
And so I did.
And the shit hit the fan.
I moved out.
I started to divorce a man I had rarely ever fought with…who I had generally had a pretty decent relationship with. You know we had our issues, mostly, in my opinion because I was pretending to be something I wasn’t. And he was pretending nothing weird was going on.
I told my kids.
And the shit hit the fan. I mean it really hit the fan.
So now I am divorced, trying to heal my kids, trying to learn independence. Trying to learn how to be gay this late in life.
Well I have always been gay, for the record, but now I am ready to actually be it.
A single, 42 year old lesbian with three kids.
So that’s where I am right now.